Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Conversation With Loyal
One night, I went for a walk because I was angry, and I ran into one of the security guards named Loyal who asked me if I wanted a ride. I said no, and told him I was just walking, but then we began conversing. I forget how the conversation went, as it happened a while ago, but we began talking about his church (All Nations Community Church) and God.
He grew up in the Micronesian islands and he always kind of knew about Christianity, since the islands had been brought the gospel by white missionaries when it was colonized by the British Empire. However, the religion was mixed with the native religions and Christianity to them was more about liturgy than knowing God or anything about him.
He moved me to Hawaii, if I remember correctly, when he was in high school and it was there that he learned about the Christian God. His uncle brought him to a Bible study, and he came in while they were going through a series about Revelation. This is a confusing book to begin with, since he had never read the Bible before, but it’s fascinating what he discovered from it.
Revelation 19 talks about Jesus, the rider on a white horse. Loyal said that in Micronesia they have an ancient legend about a king who came to the Islands on a white horse, dressed all in white, with a tattoo on his thigh saying that he was the greatest king. Revelation 19:16 says, “On his robe and on his thigh, he has a name written, ‘King of kings and Lord of lords.” I asked if this legend came about after the British conquest, and he said no. The story had been around for thousands of years, and the chiefs on the islands have traditionally tattooed their thighs to show their greatness and authority.
As he continued to study the Bible, Loyal saw great similarities between his country's belief in a Great Spirit, or the creator, and the God of the Bible described. The island has many gods, but above all the other Gods is the Great Spirit, who created the gods and the universe. However this God is so great that no one can reach out to him. He is transcendent. But as he studied the Bible, he began to realize that if the God of the Bible was the same as the Great Spirit, then he was reachable through Christ.
The All Nations Community Church, which is primarily made up of Micronesians, has a ministry to Native American tribes (including Navajos in Arizona). Loyal said that they also have an understanding of the Great Spirit. I learned about this in my Religion in America class as well, the common religious belief of native Americans is their belief in the Great Spirit.
Romans 1 says that everyone has a knowledge of God in their hearts, and some suppress it or they create a god that is not the true God. This was made even clearer to me from my conversation with Loyal. Even before the Micronesians were “Christianized”, they had a knowledge of the Great Spirit, and they understood that there was something separating them from this God.
A knowledge like this is not saving knowledge though. Since we are separated from God because of our sin, we must have faith in Jesus who covers our sin to bring us into communion with God. John 17:3 says, “This is eternal life,that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”